Studies show that self care can play an important role in fertility. There are a few reasons for this.
- Taking care of yourself lowers stress levels, which appears to increase fertility treatment success
- Self care in the form of acupuncture and yoga increase blood flow to the pelvis and lower anxiety levels after failed fertility treatments or failed IVF cycles.
- Most forms of self care focus on a healthier body, which directly translates to a healthier reproductive system.
Self Care Tips During IVF, From January – December
Besides the above, NCFMC recommends the following, 12 self care tips because you’re going through the ringer and you deserve it!
January: Clean Up Your Diet and Exercise Routine
If you’ve already done this – you’re doing great. However, a clean diet – preferably one that emphasizes anti-inflammatory benefits (like the Mediterranean Diet) – is key in managing some of the leading causes of infertility, including endometriosis, PCOS and poor sperm count. Exercise is also important, especially if weight management is a goal for you.
February: Visit an Acupuncturist
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to promote relaxation, heal medical ailments and promote fertility. Only recently, however, has it been given the stamp of approval by the western medical establishment. Now, multiple studies prove the health benefits of acupuncture, and that includes acupuncture’s ability to increase IVF success rates.
Schedule a consultation with a licensed acupuncturist, preferably one specializing in infertility, to establish a rapport and get started.
March: Try a Yoga Class or Two
Yoga is sort of like a trifecta of exercise forms because it does so much within a single practice – increases cardio, stamina, flexibility and balance, teaches breathing exercises that reduce stress and anxiety, and inherently imbues healthy lifestyles into the mix.
Visit a few different yoga studios/classes in your area – staying away from high-impact forms (Vinyasa, Flow, Asthanga, Hot Yoga (Hatha)) that could compromise embryo implantation once you’re pregnant. A prenatal class will give you everything you need – and you can continue with it once you’re pregnant.
April: Start Mediation and/or other Mindfulness Practices
Meditation and other forms of mindfulness are known stress relievers, and those who practice mindfulness on a regular basis report being more content, balanced and physically healthier. Not sure where to start? Check out some of these Best Meditation Apps and see if any appeal to you.
May: Check In with a Fertility Counselor
Odds are you started trying to get pregnant months (or more than a year) ago, and you may have already experienced devastating infertility diagnoses or failed treatments. All of the above takes a toll on emotional and mental wellness; in turn, that takes a toll on fertility. Then there’s the issue of keeping your romance alive – both with yourself and with your partner – during the all the ups and downs.
Scheduling an appointment with a fertility counselor can be a life saver, providing safe harbor where you can vent, working relationship building, explore the deeper queries that may arise such as donor eggs/sperm, using a gestational surrogate. etc.
June: Play Around with Mocktails
Giving up alcohol can be a tough one when you’re trying to conceive because you aren’t pregnant yet – and summer is prime cocktail season. Check out Elle’s 20 Best Mocktail recipes and start sampling. You’ll be able to get festive with the rest of them, without feeling like a party pariah.
July: Schedule a Massage
Need we say more? From an anecdotal perspective, just thinking about getting a massage seems to have beneficial effects since your whole body says, “aaaaaah!” Now take that anecdote a step further and book an appointment with a massage therapist – preferably once who prioritizes prenatal massage, so you can continue with him/her after you’ve conceived.
August: Read a Mindless Novel
Shove the journals of Fertility & Sterility aside, unplug from the gamut of infertility and fertility treatment research, tips and information – and enjoy something mindless for a change. Along that line, we offer you Goodreads’s list of Popular Mindless Fiction Books.
September: Take a Walk (or a Hike) in Nature
The Japanese have a wonderful description for spending time in nature – it’s shirin-yoku, and it means “taking a forest bath.” Researchers have found spending time outdoors – even just 10 to 15 minutes in a green space or with a view of the trees/landscape immediately decreases stress and anxiety, revives dulled minds and boosts the immune system.
October: Start Preparing for Holiday Season
The holidays are notoriously rough for couples coping with infertility, and they can really creep up on you fast. October is a good month to start exploring what the upcoming holiday itinerary will mean for you this year. Read, Coping With Infertility Over the Holidays and begin exploring whether or not you need to create some survival strategies for yourself and/or your partner.
November: Start a Daily Gratitude Journal
This is the season for giving thanks, and that can be awfully difficult when you feel like the world – and the Fates – are conspiring against you. When things look that bleak, it’s a good time to start a Gratitude Journal, where you list three things each day that you are grateful for.
This celebration of even the littlest of victories is a great way to keep your heart focused on the positive and to maintain a sense of balanced perspective – even through the bleakest moments.
December: Create a Vision Board
Did you and your partner opt to skip the holiday events this year? Perhaps you’ll be inspired by the process of creating a Vision Board for the next year – or the next chapter of your life. Want to learn how to make one? Read mindbodygreen.com’s post on How to Create a Vision Board to Get Exactly What You Want…